Navy holds up ferry service
[TamilNet, Sunday, 14 February 1999, 22:19 GMT]
The Sri Lanka Navy has refused permission to a private shipping firm to launch a passenger shipping service between Trincomalee and Kankesanthurai. The decision came despite the fact that the International Committee of the Red Cross signed an agreement with the North East Governor and the Commissioner General of Essential Services (CGES), to provide security to the ship when it sails with civilians sources said.
The Commissioner General of Essential Services, Mr.N.Obadage, has decided to meet the President, Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunge, to obtain clearance for the shipping firm to start its passenger service without any further delay, said sources in Colombo.
According to the agreement signed by the three parties two months ago, two representatives of the International Committee of Red Cross would accompany the civilian passengers in the ship chartered by the private firm.
The agreement has clearly stated that no army personnel, military equipment and other cargo for the security establishments would be taken in that vessel with the civilians, the sources said.
Meanwhile, 1250 passengers, stranded in Trincomalee for several months, were sent to Jaffna on Friday by a cargo vessel "Lanka Muditha".
According to Trincomalee Divisional Secretariat sources, this vessel would come to Trincomalee on 27th or 28th this month to take about 1000 Wanni refugees to Jaffna.
Another batch of 1250 Jaffna bound civilians would be sent on March 2 by this vessel from Trincomalee.